Many people may not realize you can literally become a commercial real estate insider just by working in your own local community. There is a wealth of opportunity for those who are motivated and wanting to make a difference, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of people in the community as well.
You do not have to travel across the United States or around the world to find money making properties that will financially take care of you for the rest of your life. It simply takes two things in order to become a real estate insider: knowledge of your community’s real estate opportunities and a steady increase in your own education.
What makes a real estate insider?
A real estate insider knows the ins and outs of the real estate market in his or her own area of interest. This interest could be in office complexes, strip malls, large apartment complexes, medical buildings, and various other income producing properties The commercial real estate insider recognizes trends, the value of property, changes in values before they happen, all zoning laws and regulations, and infrastructural changes that can drastically affect the values of land on or around the new development.
The commercial real estate insider also knows the city decision makers. He or she knows with whom to speak in order to get information, advice, notice regarding changes in the zoning laws or regulations, and to stay ahead of the real estate market.
How do you become a commercial real estate insider?
To start, you should understand that a large part of commercial real estate is dealing with the officials and decision makers of the city or county because they are the ones who decide zoning and use for every piece of property within the city’s or county’s boundaries. They plan for future growth, and attempt to create a balance among both residential and commercial properties so that the community does not grow too quickly or become unbalanced.
Due to the fact that the city officials are so important to your ability to develop, renovate, and otherwise do what you want to a property, it is crucial that you get to know these people and create a rapport. You also need to know what is occurring in your community regarding real estate at all times. Zoning often changes; there may be new regulations or codes regarding the zoning, or the intended use could be limited to only a few uses that will hinder your intended project. All these things can greatly affect your dealings with a specific property, and how you pick and choose your opportunities.
A good way to meet these important officials, as well as learn about the real estate market in your community, is to attend zoning and planning meetings at your local Chamber of Commerce or courthouse. It is there that you can meet face to face the people who will influence your future as a commercial real estate insider. Introduce yourself as a real estate investor, and give them your card. Ask intelligent questions regarding real estate in your community.
Eventually, after building a rapport with these influential people, ask if you could meet with them to discuss a certain project, or something in which you could use more information or advice. You should always come to these meetings prepared with your questions typed so you stay on task and topic. Show that you appreciate their time, knowledge and expertise.
It is a great idea to ask for a few more introductions to people they know who may be able to help you. Always send a thank-you note that briefly reviews your discussion, what advice you used and how it will or has helped you. When you show appreciation for their advice, they are more likely to help you in the future, or share information of which others may not be privy. You will begin to make excellent contacts and learn key elements regarding your specific market. This is how you become a commercial real estate insider.
Beyond meeting the people who make the big decisions regarding the use of property in your community, you must know the laws and regulations regarding the various types of zoning. Zoning labels may differ from city to city, as do building criteria, the size of lots, building and fire codes, and limitations. You must study these rules and regulations so you know what you can and cannot do to a property. As these rules and regulations often change, it is important that you listen and take solid notes at all zoning and planning meetings, and other important real estate related meetings you might attend.
Your goal is to know your market inside and out so you can make decisions based on the changes in the market before anyone else even knows they are coming. You do this by recognizing certain points, such as an increase in vacancies of commercial property, or an increase in the median home price, or how the new mall planned to be developed in one year is going to greatly affect the land values around it.
In addition to understanding your own market, you should be reading the newspaper, trade journals, commercial real estate books, attending seminars, and speaking with others in your area who are involved with real estate so that you are constantly increasing your knowledge. It is with this constant training that you will learn strategy, finance, information about private lending, how to find deals, how to present offers, what markets are hot, new opportunities in the area others are not aware of, and many other tools and strategies that will keep you ahead of the rest.
To be a real estate insider, you must always be on your game. Make those contacts. Ask pertinent questions. Learn everything you can about your business, and act on this information. You will find yourself finding opportunities that you did not know existed, and you will become a commercial real estate insider sooner than you would think!